Caprice #4 is posted!
Our smallest donation for Caprice #4 was $10, so please remember that every bit counts. For less than the price of a movie ticket in New York, you can help unite cultures in harmony.
On another note, the Washington Post has this article in which Gen. Stanley McChrystal asserts that the Taliban is winning the public diplomacy battle in Afghanistan.
He is correct that the goal of public relations efforts should change from a "struggle for the 'hearts and minds' of the Afghan population to one of giving them 'trust and confidence' " in themselves and their government. Too often, the assertion of American interests has proved contrary to American interests in the long run. True diplomats should listen before trying to persuade.
Public diplomacy (of which the arts diplomacy practiced by Cultures in Harmony is a small component) is most effective when it is an unintended byproduct of other activities. Explicit public diplomacy is usually a laughingstock. The article quotes an Iraqi NGO director as he reads an issue of the U.S.-subsidized newspaper Baghdad Now: "The millions spent on this is wasted money. Nobody reads this." However, a gradual, barely perceptible shift in perception may occur as a result of activities which genuinely are of interest and assistance. Cultures in Harmony has discovered that partnerships with humanitarian agencies, outreach concerts, and collaborations with local musicians are more effective than standing around asking people to like us.
The article questions the military's expanded public diplomacy initiative. Like a battered child, public diplomacy has been shunted from one government agency to another ever since the 1938 creation of the Division of Cultural Relations. Richard Arndt outlines this process in his voluminous, dense opus The First Resort of Kings. Folks at the Pentagon should read their Arndt and learn from the sadly amusing cultural diplomacy failures of American history that this little-understood but supremely important field of endeavor should remain the exclusive demesne of the State Department...and NGOs like Cultures in Harmony.